Waste Management – SWM Rules, EWM Rules, etc

What is SWM Cess and Why is It Levied on Waste Generators?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level: Implication of SWM Cess

Why in the News?

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP) has proposed a Solid Waste Management (SWM) Cess of ₹100 per month for each household.

What is Cess?

  • A cess is a form of tax or levy imposed by governments to fund specific services or purposes, such as waste management or infrastructure development.

How has the SWM cess fared so far?

  • Purpose of SWM Cess: SWM Cess is intended to cover a portion of the costs incurred by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in providing SWM services, which are resource-intensive and crucial for maintaining cleanliness and health standards in urban areas.
  • Legal Provisions: According to the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, ULBs are mandated to collect user fees/cess for SWM services. The proposed increase reflects the rising costs and challenges faced by ULBs in managing solid waste effectively.

Why has it hit the headlines suddenly?

  • Significant Increase in User Fee: The proposed SWM Cess represents a substantial increase from the previous user fees typically charged by ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) across India, which are generally in the range of ₹30-50 per month. Such a significant rise in fees has garnered attention and sparked debate among residents and stakeholders in Bengaluru.
  • Impact on Residents: The SWM Cess directly affects every household in Bengaluru, potentially adding financial burden on residents. This has led to widespread discussions and concerns among citizens about the affordability and justification of the proposed increase.

Present Status in Bengaluru:

  • Bengaluru faces significant challenges in solid waste management (SWM) due to its large population and high daily waste generation of approximately 5,000 tonnes. Managing such volumes requires extensive resources and infrastructure.
  • The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP) primarily focuses its SWM efforts on the collection and transportation of waste. These activities are labor-intensive and consume a major portion of BBMP’s budget allocated for SWM services.
  • SWM services constitute a substantial portion of BBMP’s budget, with limited revenue generated from these services. This financial strain necessitates the proposal of initiatives like the SWM Cess to bridge the funding gap and ensure sustainable service delivery.

What is about to change?

  • Proposed Changes: Going forward, Bengaluru plans to implement several changes in its SWM strategy.
    • These include revising user fees and potentially increasing charges on bulk waste generators to better cover operational costs and enhance service efficiency.
  • Strategies for Improvement: BBMP aims to enhance waste management practices through initiatives such as waste segregation at source, promoting decentralized composting centres, and launching public awareness campaigns. These efforts are aimed at optimizing resource utilization and improving overall SWM effectiveness in the city.

Mains PYQ: 

Q What are the impediments in disposing of the huge quantities of discarded solid wastes which are continuously being generated? How do we remove safely the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment? (UPSC IAS/2018)


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